Legend has it that the ghat region of Tamil Nadu was ruled by Nambirajan, the king of the Kuravas or the hill tribes. Nambirajan worshipped Shiva, praying for a daughter. His prayers were answered and it was revealed to him that he would discover a baby in the nearby woods and that she would be his daughter.
Accordingly the Kurava king discovered ‘Vallinayaki’ in the woods and brought her up as his own. Valli grew up to be a beautiful maiden and Subramanya - son of Shiva and Parvati sought her hand in marriage. Their courtship is full of many interesting stories that form the basis of many a folk tale and classical performing arts in Tamil Nadu.
Murugan assumed the form of an old bangle seller, and sold bangles to Valli, in return for a local delicacy of honey soaked corn flour. A conversation ensued between the two, which was interrupted by the arrival of Valli's brothers, a valiant lot who were highly possessive and protective of their sister. Flustered by their sudden appearance, and unwilling to indulge in battle, Murugan (Skanda) changed himself into a Vengai maram (a stump of which is still seen in the Temple at Velimalai in Southern Tamil Nadu).
Skanda appeared again, in the guise of an old tribal king and sought her hand in marriage. The brothers materialized again, and Skanda transformed himself into an old ascetic from the Himalayas, and they left the spot.
Upset by the ongoing hindrance, Skanda sought the help of his brother Vinayaka - the remover of obstacles. Vinayaka appeared on the spot as a wild elephant. A scared Valli, embraced Skanda and promised to offer him anything in return for protection from the wild beast. Skanda sought her hand in marriage, and Valli consented gladly, realizing that her suitor was none other than Murugan, whom she and her tribe held in great regard.
Valli married Murugan and the marriage was celebrated with great pomp and splendor by Nambirajan, the king of kuravas.